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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fireplace: Keep it Simple

One of my biggest gripes I have when I look at the interiors of most homes is too much clutter. Sometimes more can mean better, but it is more the exception than the rule. This can be seen more often than not when it comes to fireplaces. I am as big a fan as anyone of making them the focal point of the room, I think that the warmth and visual weight that they add, can often only be done using a fireplace, however, this should not give license to create havoc!

So many times you will walk into a room and there will be a huge mantle, with art above, lighting, maybe a plant....enough already! sometimes, a more restrained approach will give a more sophisticated, elegant approach. For the fireplace shown above, I used a simple precast trim, around the inside edge to softly delineate from the plaster wall. I also inserted a wrought iron plaque to help the proportion of the opening, creating the illusion of a larger firebox. I think it was pretty successful in making a quiet statement. I deliberately under scaled the art to encourage people to approach, and then added old world sconces on either side for a flourish.

If you are dealing with an existing fireplace, here are some thoughts about how to create a simpler presentation:

  • Try removing the mantle all together, it will really open up the wall. If considering this, make sure you have a firebox opening that is in proportion to your space, or else you may just create more problems for yourself.

  • If removing the mantle is not an option, you can paint it the same color as the wall, it will then become much less dominant in the room.

  • Try not to clutter up the space, use only one or two accessories, or try using an art piece that is a little under scaled.


kim. said...

Too funny - I ripped my god-awful oak mantle off the wall and left it bare. Hung a clock above and that's it. SIMPLE is WAY BETTER. (And the room does look so much bigger).

franki durbin said...

I found myself literally nodding as I read your post. It seems people over-decorate far too often. Much of it is learned form example (magazines, catalogues, designer features), but there truly is a stopping point you have to find. A fireplace is such a marvelous feature it should be allowed to shine without being over embellished!

Irvina said...

I find this very intriguing having grown up in a home where my mom loved to put pictures, art and you name it above the fireplace. What do you suggest as far as Christmas time goes? Where do stockings go on a "mantel-less fireplace"?

JMS said...

We stayed at a castle this summer and stumbled on this working fireplace:

Notice anything peculiar?

There was also a secret bookcase door thats a few hundred years old. It lead into a huge secret room like something out of a science fiction movie except it's real:


Anonymous said...

I think that looks just awful.

Anonymous said...

Little but Informative!
I Buy Fireplace Parts